Circumcising Men Also to Benefit Women?
By: Dr. Gary Bellman on May 5, 2016
What is circumcision?
Circumcision is the removal of a fold of skin (the “foreskin” or “prepuce”) that covers the head (glans) of the un-erect penis. The operation takes about 10 minutes and is performed under local or general anaesthesia.
The benefits of medical male circumcision have been shown to potentially also extend to women.
It has been shown that female partners of men who are circumcised have a less risk of contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer in women.
For many years, men have been the direct recipients of messages on medical male circumcision and its benefits-- One of them being that it reduces the risk of HIV infection in men. Now, women are being made aware that having a circumcised partner does not only protect him, but also protects the woman from getting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which ultimately can lead to cancer if left untreated.
A man who is circumcised is less likely to transmit HPV, & is also less likely to transmit herpes and other sexually transmitted infections. There is data that shows that it reduces transmission of HPV from men to women and other STI’s. HPV causes cervical cancer and also causes penile cancer in men. The reason why it is protective is because when a man has a foreskin, there are cells in the foreskin that attract HIV, so they are more vulnerable to HIV than if there was no foreskin.
A random study done in Uganda between 2003 and 2006 sought to investigate whether an HIV negative circumcised man can reduce the chances of his HIV-negative female partner from contracting HPV. After 24 months, the study found that more than 38% of women whose partners were uncircumcised had high risk HPV infection compared to 27.8% of women whose partners were circumcised.
From the study’s findings, it is now recommended that medical male circumcision should be accepted as an effective intervention for reducing the prevalence and incidence of HPV infection in women, but many women are not aware that medical male circumcision is beneficial for them.
Now there is a shift towards that change because we know, as healthcare professionals, women tend to be more proactive & utilize the services more than men. And unless the women were not informed of these benefits, we would not have as many men as we are having now to request the services.
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